7 of 10 S. Koreans support independent development of nuclear weapons: poll

SEOUL-- Seven out of 10 South Koreans see the need for Seoul to independently pursue its own nuclear weapons development program, a survey showed Monday, amid concerns over escalating military threats from Pyongyang and a lack of trust in denuclearization negotiations with North Korea.

According to the Gallup Korea poll of 1,000 adults, commissioned by the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies, 76.6 percent replied that the South needs to develop nuclear weapons independently to counter Pyongyang's intensifying nuclear threats and deter its provocations.

The survey showed 77.6 percent of the respondents considered denuclearization of North Korea to be "impossible," while 78.6 percent said Pyongyang was likely to conduct its seventh nuclear test.

Of those polled, 72.4 percent also made positive assessments on South Korea's capability in developing its own nuclear weapons.

Among those surveyed, 51.3 percent said they believed the United States will actually demonstrate extended deterrence to defend Seoul in case of contingencies on the Korean Peninsula.

Extended deterrence refers to a commitment to the provision of the full range of military capabilities, including nuclear, conventional, missile defense and other advanced non-nuclear capabilities, to help defend allies and partners.

The survey was conducted from Nov. 28 to Dec. 16 last year through one-on-one in-person home interviews.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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